Secret Letters by Leah Scheier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
'Inquisitive and observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic country life to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she learns that the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora jumps on the opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the mystery of her cousin's ransomed love letters. But Dora arrives in London to devastating news: Sherlock Holmes is dead. Her dreams dashed, Dora is left to rely on her wits-and the assistance of an attractive yet enigmatic young detective-to save her cousin's reputation and help rescue a kidnapped heiress along the way.
Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this gripping novel heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice in young adult literature.'
Beautifully written and seeming to capture the Victorian atmosphere and intrigue from the very first page this novel had me hooked immediately.
The story is essentially about a young girl, Dora, who travels to London with her cousin Adelaide to try and find out who is threatening Adelaide’s reputation and recover some secret letters. However Dora has her own secret that she is the illegitimate daughter of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and she is determined to finally meet him at last. Unfortunately things don’t exactly go to plan for Dora as at the time she is travelling to London Sherlock Holmes has been killed by his nemesis Moriarty and she never does get to meet him.
Dora has already shown traits of her father’s extraordinary detective qualities and has a nose for solving mysteries, she is of course saddened that she will never meet her father and keeps the secret of their relationship from everyone but she can’t hide her passion and her skill for mysteries. Adelaide is distraught that they not find who has her letters and is worried that the blackmailer may reveal them to her husband. Dora meets a young apprentice named Peter Cartwright who works for another detective in London and Adelaide requests his help in finding her blackmailer. Dora finds herself pulled into the case which also connects to the case of a missing Lords’ daughter.
The author captured the essence of Dora whose deductive skills are very worthy of a daughter of the famous Sherlock Holmes; her dogged determination and unshakeable resilience make this such a good read, she is confident but also willing to listen and learn from others including the very enigmatic Peter. The chemistry and energy between the characters adds to the possible love interest between them and hints at hopefully a few sequels to come.
Cleverly written but perhaps lacking a little in historical scene setting, I was not immediately transported to Victorian London through ambience but nevertheless the book was credible and enjoyable.
I hope that Leah Scheier writes a sequel or two on this every interesting and likeable character, I would like to see how the relationship develops between her and Peter and of course love to see the situations that she manages to find herself in during the course of solving yet more mysteries. It might be interesting if she and Peter were to set up their own detective agency or perhaps if they were to work with Dr Watson to avenge her fathers’ death.
Overall I would rate this book 4 stars; just lacking a little more historical references and scene setting for me but very enjoyable.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending me this copy.